Thai Red Chicken Curry
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2-3tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1kg (1lb) chicken thigh fillets, cut into 3cm (1 1/4in) pieces
- 300ml (9fl oz) coconut milk
- 250g (8oz) green beans, chopped into 5cm (2in) lengths
- 1-2tbsp fresh coriander leaves
Thai Red Curry Paste
- 17 to 20 prik haeng (dried hot red chilies), halved and seeds discarded
- 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 2 fresh lemongrass stalks, 1 or 2 outer leaves discarded
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 4 teaspoons finely chopped peeled fresh or thawed frozen greater galangal (sometimes called kha)
- 6 fresh or frozen Kaffir lime leaves (sometimes called bai makroot), finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro roots or stems
- 5 small shallots, chopped (6 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup chopped garlic
- 15 to 20 red prik kii noo (fresh bird’s-eye chiles) or serrano chiles, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ga-pi (Thai shrimp paste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Thai Red Chicken Curry
For cooking the chicken:
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. The sauce should have reduced and thickened by this stage.
- Add the beans, stir well, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until tender. There should be enough sauce to easily coat the meat. If the mixture is very liquid, increase the heat and simmer until reduced. Use a spoon to remove any oil that rises to the top. Season to taste and serve in bowls topped with a handful of coriander leaves, accompanied with steamed rice.
For making curry paste:
- Cut dried chilies into 1/4-inch pieces with kitchen shears and soak in warm water until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain well in a sieve.
- While chilies soak, toast coriander in a dry small heavy skillet over moderate heat, shaking skillet, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes, then cool. Thinly slice lower 6 inches of lemongrass stalks and finely chop.
- Finely grind coriander and peppercorns with mortar and pestle (or in mini food processor), about 2 minutes, then toss together with lemongrass, galangal, lime leaves, cilantro, shallot, garlic, fresh chilies, and soaked dried chilies in a bowl. Pound mixture in 3 batches with mortar and pestle until a fairly smooth paste is formed, 8 to 10 minutes per batch, transferring to cleaned bowl. (If using food processor, add about 1 1/2 tablespoons water per batch.) Return all of curry paste to mortar, then add shrimp paste and salt and pound (or pulse) until combined well, about 1 minute.